PARIS (AFP) – Kylian Mbappe set Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on the way to a 2-0 win over troubled Marseille on Sunday, keeping the reigning champions within three points of Ligue 1 leaders Lille who earlier recorded their sixth consecutive victory.
Mbappe burst through at incredible pace to give PSG the lead on the counter-attack in the ninth minute at the Velodrome, with Mauro Icardi adding a second for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
The victory was achieved despite Neymar – who celebrated his 29th birthday on Friday – only appearing as a substitute having missed training with a stomach bug.
PSG stay third, a point behind Lyon and three adrift of Lille, who won 2-0 at Nantes.
Marseille finished with 10 men after Dimitri Payet’s late sending-off, and are down in ninth having won just once in 11 games.
The Parisians go to Barcelona in the Champions League on February 16 but Mbappe insisted their thoughts remained on domestic matters as they first play in the French Cup in midweek and then host Nice next weekend.
Ligue 1 top scorer Mbappe sprinted onto Angel di Maria’s pass to control and fire past Steve Mandanda for the opener, his 16th of the season. Canal Plus clocked Mbappe’s stunning sprint at 36 kilometres per hour.
Di Maria then hobbled off injured, before Icardi made it 2-0 midway through the first half. Icardi got in front of Alvaro to meet Alessandro Florenzi’s cross, the ball coming off the back of his neck and looping into the net.
Icardi was replaced by Neymar midway through the second half, with the Brazilian immediately becoming involved in a flashpoint with Alvaro. The Spaniard was lucky only to concede a corner rather than a penalty as he tried to stop the world’s most expensive player, but Alvaro did jar his knee in the process and came off soon after.
The home side then had Payet dismissed for a high boot on Marco Verratti.
Canada’s Jonathan David continued his recent scoring streak with a brace as Lille saw off Nantes to reclaim top spot from Lyon, who beat Strasbourg 3-0 on Saturday.
David has five goals in as many games after pouncing on a defensive mix-up to put Lille in front early on and then scoring a fantastic second seven minutes from time following a one-two with Renato Sanches.
Struggling Nantes have gone 15 matches without a win, including seven games under Raymond Domenech, the former France coach who was appointed in December.
Earlier Aleksandr Golovin scored a hat-trick on his first start since August after injury as fourth-placed Monaco defeated bottom club Nimes 4-3 to extend their winning run to seven matches. Golovin also set up Kevin Volland for Monaco’s fourth.